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Metal Planet Music Writer’s Picks of 2020

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Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

It’s been a rough year. So many things to deal with and overcome. We’ve lost some great people.

We’ve, more or less, lost live music since March. We have though seen some incredible new music and these are my personal picks.

It’s a long list and there’s plenty more I could have mentioned so maybe part two will come along at some point.

There’s going to be ones you know and ones you may not so have some fun exploring. Let’s celebrate that and look to the future:

NB: None of the following mentioned on individual lists are in any particular order:

Albums of the year:

Silent Skies – ‘Satellites’
One of the most beautiful albums you’ll ever hear.

Koburg – ‘Positions of Power
The best symphonic rock album since ‘Fallen’ crafted by the new queen of the genre.

Millie Manders & The Shut-Up – ‘Telling Truths, Breaking Ties’
Brilliantly danceable ska punk with a clear and bright social conscious.

Esoterica – ‘In Dreams
Huge, skyscraping and life affirming.

British Lion – ‘The Burning
Steve Harris’s ‘other’ band comes of age with this incredible sophomore release and it radiates style and classy writing.

Fish – ‘Weltschmerz’
Bookending a solo career with your two finest albums is a quite a feat but this is a career high swansong.

Pavey Ark – ‘Close Your Eyes and Think of Nothing’
Brilliantly chilled folk and utterly irresistible.

Pure Reason Revolution – ‘Eupnea’
A brilliant return from one of the best UK prog outfits of recent years as it takes you to other worlds.

Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons – ‘We’re The Bastards’
They rock VERY hard.

Blue Oyster Cult – ‘The Symbol Remains’
The legends return with one of the best albums they’ve ever released.

Ward XVI – ‘Metamorphosis’
Staggeringly brilliant and twisted Gothic Rock.

Vega – ‘Grit Your Teeth’
AOR with serious balls and easily the best album of the genre this year.

Amy Birks – ‘All That I Am And All That I Was’
Breathtaking and quintessentially English.

H.E.A.T. – ‘II’
A stunning 80’s centric album that sees the band bring back the huge choruses and fun that Bon Jovi had at their peak.

Doris Brendel – ‘Mass Hysteria’
A totally enveloping and multi layered magical carpet ride from one of the finest voices in the country.

Forndom – ‘Fapir’
Incredible Viking chill-out music that’s perfect after a hard day’s rampaging.

Little Red Kings – ‘the magic show part one’
Classy and cool blues with a dirty edge.

Haxan – ‘White Noise’
A hard rocking debut well worth waiting for.

Robert Jon & The Wreck – ‘Last Light on the Highway
Brilliant and earthy Americana that could become the next ‘Hotel California’

Blues Pills – ‘Holy Moly’
Raw blues power soaked in Scandi cool.

Tracks of the Year

Millie Manders & The Shutup – ‘Glitter Mix’
Brilliant and heartbreaking.

Koburg – ‘Rise’
The word ‘epic’ was created for this song.

Evanescence – ‘Use My Voice’
A sentiment and power to topple dictators.

The Hu – ‘Sad But True’
One of the best cover versions of anything EVER.

Constant Follower – ‘Set Aside Some Time’
Absolutely beautiful, this is a still, small voice in the hurricane.

Kontrol Freaks – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Fire’
The new royalty of rock is here and they’re not taking prisoners.

Ward XVI – ‘The Cradle Song’
Absolutely staggering.

Bootyard Bandits – ‘Shirt Potatoes
Lewd, crude and brilliantly constructed.

Fish – ‘Garden of Remembrance’
One of the most moving things you’ll ever hear.

Bad Touch – ‘Something About Your Kiss’
A giant leap forward and an instant classic.

Indya – ‘Sadeness’
Featuring Jethro (cousin of Ed) Sheeran, this sumptuous dance rock hybrid is the sort of thing that Prince would have adored.

Artists to look out for in 2021
Millie Manders & The Shutup
Sam Coe
Flatland Kings
Kontrol Freaks
Gasoline Outlaws
Ward XVI
The Outlaw Orchestra
Silence & Company
Without Willow

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